Staying up to date with your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax account can be challenging since the IRS does not issue periodic account statements and does not communicate by email. However, in the last year, the IRS has greatly expanded its online platform: when accessing your IRS online account you can now view the status of your tax balance or refund, communicate with the IRS, view your filing history and make tax payments. Below the latest on the IRS online services.
1/ How to set up your online access
To sign up for your online account, you will need a mobile phone that can receive a security code SMS. To ensure a secure access, the IRS has set up a thorough authentication process that will check your identity.
To set up your online access: Your Online Account | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
2/ How to obtain a copy of your tax records
Once your online access is set up, you can view your tax due, your tax payment history and other key information of your most recent tax return. You can also request a copy (transcript) of your last tax return filed. You might need a transcript to provide income verification – for example if you are applying for a home mortgage or a student loan. There are different types of account transcript available for download:
• The Tax Return Transcript – shows most line items of your tax return and generally meets the needs of lending institutions that request your tax information.
• The Tax Account Transcript – shows basic tax data such as your filing status and taxable income.
• Record of Account Transcript – shows chronologically what has been happening to your tax account – such as penalties assessed, whether your account is being audited or collection status.
• Wage and Income Transcript – shows information returns date for Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, and 5498. You might need this transcript if you have misplaced or did not receive from your employer your W2.
• Verification of Non-filing Letter – If you need proof that the IRS has no record of you filing for a given year.
To obtain a transcript: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
3/ How to view & respond to notices
The IRS issues a notice when it has questions about a tax return you filed, or when it assesses penalties on your account. In the last year, the IRS has expanded the ability of taxpayer to view, respond to notices as well as upload documents through your online IRS account. You will receive almost instant confirmation that documents were received by the IRS. When you are in your online account, click on “Notice & letters tab” to access this service.
4/ How to file certain tax forms online
If you are a business owner, you can now file for free online forms 1099 series (such as 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV ) through the Information Return Intake System (IRIS) online portal.
To access IRIS : E-file Forms 1099 with IRIS | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
5/ How to check the status of your refund
You can check easily the status of your tax refund – using the refund tool. The tool has recently been expanded to include the current tax year as well as the prior 2 tax years.
To use this online tool, you will need to identify yourself by entering your tax number (SSN or ITIN), your filing status and the amount of the refund shown on your tax return. The tool will display the progress of your tax refund in 3 phases: “return received”, “refund approved”, and “refund sent”. The tool is updated every 24 hours.
To access the refund tool: https://www.irs.gov/refunds
6/ How to pay your taxes with just one click!
With the IRS online platform, you can pay your taxes online , get a payment receipt instantly, and look up prior payments. There are 5 platforms you can chose from to make your payment. Generally, if you pay with your checking account, there is no fee – if you pay with a card, there is a processing fee.
a/ Payment with your IRS online account
You can make a tax payment by logging in your IRS online account. Your online access will also show your current year tax balance, your payment history, scheduled payments, and pending payments. To access your IRS online account: Your Online Account | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
b/ Payment with Direct Pay
This service allows you to pay tax with a checking account free of charge. The system also accepts foreign bank account settlement if the foreign bank is affiliated with a US bank and has a 9-digit routing number . The system does not accept SWIFT codes.
To pay with Direct Pay: https://www.irs.gov/payments/direct-pay
c/ Payment with a Credit card / Debit card
This service accepts most US and foreign cards including Amex, Discover, Mastercard, Visa. The service will charge a fee up to 2% of the amount (Credit Card) or $ 3.95 per transaction (Debit Card). To pay with a card: https://www.irs.gov/payments/pay-taxes-by-credit-or-debit-card
d / Payment with eftps.gov
This service is the official US administration system (Electronic Federal Tax Payment system EFTPS) for individuals and businesses. It provides a secure way for individuals and businesses to make a tax payment. The registration to this system is free, secure and can take up to 7 days. To pay with EFTPS: https://www.irs.gov/payments/eftps-the-electronic-federal-tax-payment-system
e/ International wire transfer
If you wish to pay with a foreign bank account your taxes, you can make an international wire transfer to the IRS. This method is costly, takes longer to process and can be time consuming as you will need to complete forms for your bank with detailed instructions. To pay by international wire: Foreign Electronic Payments | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
7/ How to apply for a payment plan
In the event you cannot pay the full amount of your taxes, you can request additional time to make the payment, set up a payment plan and even apply for a reduction in the tax due. To know more about payment plans: Options for tax debt
8/ How to get answers to your tax questions
The best way to contact the IRS depends greatly on why you need to contact them. In the last year, the IRS expanded its “self-service” assistance: you can get answers to your tax questions for free using the voice chat, web chat or other online tools:
a/ To get immediate answers to general tax questions , use the ITA online tool : ITA | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
b/ To get answers to questions specific to your account, contact the IRS by phone or in person : Telephone Assistance | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
Bear in mind the date of this article as tax laws change over time
For assistance with your international tax needs, please contact Karine Bauer, EA, JD – HERE.
To receive more articles on similar topics, please sign up – HERE.
Updated: September 7th, 2023.